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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 4, 2012
NIYA Demands Executive Order to Stop Deportations of DREAM Act-eligible Youth
Prosecutorial discretion has failed—deportations of DREAMers continue
DENVER—The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is calling for the President to issue an executive order to stop the deportation of DREAM Act-eligible youth. We simply cannot continue to allow our lives to be held up by petty partisanship and congressional gridlock.
We need the strength of an executive order to stop our deportations. Prosecutorial discretion has not stopped them; NIYA has continued to fight tooth and nail for many young people who meet the criteria to have their cases administratively closed under the June 17 Morton Memo. At present, NIYA is fighting over 30 active cases that meet these criteria.
Many cases move forward into removal proceedings simply because ICE field offices disregard prosecutorial discretion. ICE agents are not under any obligation from their superiors to do otherwise. Even in Denver, Colorado, where the field office is participating in a pilot program for prosecutorial discretion, ICE agents denied Hugo Zarate’s request for deferred action, even though he is DREAM Act-eligible and suffers from rheumatic fever.
We have lost hope for immigration reform during the current period of congressional gridlock. As well, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has continued to expand programs like Secure Communities and 287(g) and deportation levels remain at record levels.
We hope that our call for an executive order has not fallen on deaf ears in the White House. If the Administration does not issue an executive order, we will be forced to respond with direct action in the coming days. The administration, by not taking action by means fully within its power, keeps our lives on hold. That position, for us, is no longer acceptable.
The National Immigrant Youth Alliance is an undocumented youth-led network committed to achieving equality for all undocumented youth. We have member organizations in Alabama, California, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington and have relationships with activists throughout the entire country. We are the only independent national organization of undocumented youth. Through advocacy, grassroots organizing, direct action and civil disobedience, we will develop a sustainable movement for justice and equality led by those most affected and supported by committed, conscientious allies.
by Alicia Torres
Late on Tuesday night during my brother’s usual facebook scan for the latest on people’s life, he came across a post that he had to share with me. It was a post written by an ally (a person who holds US citizenship but is supposed to be a friend to the undocumented community) in which she vented her disagreement with the latest civil disobedience that took place in Arizona.
Although there are many things she wrote with which I disagree I want to focus on this one liner that she wrote: “I thought there was an internal agreement that the people protesting would always be college graduates” wrote advocate and ally, Carmen Cornejo. To me this statement echoes nothing more than a very big disconnect from the reality that we the undocumented community are living in. Currently only 12 states allow for undocumented youth to pay in-state tuition, of which Arizona is not one, and the number of states banning undocumented students from enrolling in colleges and universities is on the quick rise. The reality is that the majority of undocumented youth are not college graduates, meaning there is not that many to go around for our protests. But more importantly, you do not need a college degree to understand, to see, to feel the injustice that is being committed against us, our families, and our community. All it takes for many of us is to look across our dinner table and see our parent’s exhausted face sitting across from us. You may work with undocumented immigrants and even be friends with us but you will never feel the urgency with which we are currently living. This urgency that I speak of is one of needing to stop the injustices that on a daily basis plague our undocumented communities. This urgency is what pushes undocumented youth to drop the fear and come out as undocumented and unafraid. This urgency is what pushed the Arizona 6 to tell Arpaio we’re undocumented unafraid and we’re not backing down.
When a youth decides to be a apart of any coming out action it is the obligation of those around him or her to play a fully supportive role. You don’t have to agree but you do have to show support, and for the record questioning an act through which self empowerment will be the end result is not being supportive. For many of us it is our experience of coming out that allows us to meet eye to eye with our biggest fear and defeat it. There is no right or wrong age or level of education or criminal record background to come out, we come out because we have have been pushed to our limits and WE HAVE A CHOICE in either fighting back or curling in the corner. We the undocumented community are tired, angry, fed up and ready to fight back. We are from all walks of life. Some with higher education, 67% without one because we are being denied equal access to education but we all have a fire in our hearts and eyes that will burn until the chains of fear that have been placed upon our community are broken. We will do this through the self empowerment of our community. We are learning and teaching other undocumented youth along the way to own our voices, our stories, our lives. We are coming out as UNDOCUMENTED and UNAFRAID in a city near you.
Here in north Carolina, another state that does not offer instate tuition, the younger generation of undocumented youth are taking their cues from those that have decided to step up and fight back. They have experienced living in the shadows of not only a legal system but an educational system as well and and they are not willing to take it anymore. That is why they have decided to drop the fear and come out as undocumented and unafraid. For them it is their first step in the fight to regain their humanity and empower
themselves and their peers. We’re not rubbing politicians’ bellies, we’re taking direct action. These youth should be encouraged to come out and if and when they are ready to take that next step we’ll be there to encourage them and not slam another door in their face.
Yesterday, 13 undocumented leaders took a stand and in Alabama, risking deportation, against fear caused by the state’s harsh, anti-immigrant laws. They fought back against the oppressive shadows of fear and silence by raising their voices so that others will take heart and take action.
Local news channel WSFA 12 pulled NCDT’s own Viridiana aside to talk about what happened and why these brave leaders undertook yesterday’s action. Check out this powerful footage of what she had to say.
Also, you can support the AL13 by pitching in to their bail fund- every bit helps.